Don’t forget the housekeepers

There is an entire army of people involved in hotel bathroom design and those at the receiving end of it; not least are housekeepers

Housekeepers, Housekeeping
ITP Media Group

Hotel bathroom design matters in every sense. It matters to designers, suppliers, the hotel itself and ultimately the guests. But are they engaging with each other to deliver a bathroom that pleases all?

The roundtable feature in the following pages of this special report showcase the views of both suppliers and housekeepers on what makes a perfect bathroom, the latest advances in bathroom design, challenges faced by suppliers, sustainability, striking a balance between form and functionality and, importantly, what housekeepers wished bathroom designers would ask them prior to the design process.

In my research online to discover what other advances there were out there in terms of hotel bathroom design, a hotel in my home city of Manchester, UK, caught my eye, and not in a good way. The InnsideManchester property features guestrooms whose bathrooms have glass partition walls and toilets without doors. (Think about that for a minute).

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A review of the hotel in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper  describes how the “Bauhaus functionality of the bedrooms reflects Innside’s German origins, the ground floor lobby and bar-restaurant, Street on First, are clearly the creation of its Spanish owner, hotel giant Meliá.” This might be so but a picture of those bathrooms are embedded in my mind, and not in a good way.

Despite reading that such open-plan bedroom-bathroom layouts in traditional, long-standing hotels are probably not going to happen, for newer, edgier establishments, it has become something of a trend. Hopefully, one that won’t be heading to this region anytime soon.

Clearly, that bathroom setup is most probably going to affect, for good or bad, guest experience rather than, perhaps, the housekeeping department. Talking of the latter, I recently spoke to Hirosh Nadavatra, executive housekeeper at the DoubleTree by Hilton Marjan Island, in Ras Al Khamah, the UAE.

Nadavatra, who has been working with Hilton for the past 19 years, and in the housekeeping department for a total of 14 years, spoke about how apart from looking “elegant, the fixtures a fittings should be easy to clean,” he says, adding that most of the time housekeepers find challenging.  He stressed the importance of having anti-slip flooring; however he pointed out that some tiles have designs that prevent slippery surfaces but which accumulate dust, therefore taking time to clean and a lot of maintenance. This of course, adds to the needed manpower and associated costs.

Nadavatra points out that the in-house engineer and project manager have asked the housekeepers about the type of fabrics and design layout of the bathroom that would help them. One recommendation he said is to not have the shower area next to a bath tub, since when guests shower it splashes water all over the unused tub. There were more.

Housekeeping is an invisible given. This doesn’t mean, however, that those involved in bathroom design should not be asking the housekeeping questions. In doing so, not only will it aid the work of housekeepers, but it will also save time and therefore cost, and improve the guest experience.

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